Florida cop faces discipline for offensive Facebook post targeting Publix protesters


  • Photo from the Orlando die-in by Monivette Cordeiro
Coconut Creek police officer Brian Valenti is experiencing backlash and potential dismissal after sharing a comment on a Facebook post about the "die-in" protests at Publix locations last week.

According to the Sun Sentinel, the 45-year-old cop posted "hope some old lady looses control in that lot," under a photo of David Hogg in a parking lot of a Cocoa Creek Publix protest last Friday.

Hogg and other protesters drew 17 bodies in chalk throughout the parking lot to symbolize the 17 victims of his high school's shooting.

Although Valenti deleted his post, a woman took a screenshot of the comment and sent it to the Coconut Creek commissioners and Police Chief Butch Arenal with a message asking there be repercussions for the officer's comment.

“Whether someone agrees with these students or not, it is in very poor taste for a police officer to make the following comment regarding students that have just been through a tragic shooting,” said another commenter to the Sentinel.

Rod Skirvin, a recently retired Coconut Creek officer and union leader, said Valenti is "distraught" over the incident and that disciplinary action will be taken.

David Hogg, a outspoken critic of the NRA and a Parkland school shooting survivor, encouraged protesters to show up to their local Publix on Friday, May 25, to lie on the floor for 12 minutes at 4 p.m. An Orlando protest took place at the Publix located at Colonial and Shine.

Hogg also called on Publix to donate $1 million to the Stoneman Douglas Victims Fund, which is about double the amount of money the company granted Adam Putnam, self-proclaimed "NRA sellout."

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.